J&J Shot Clear for Distribution; Cuomo Under Fire: Virus Update
Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot Covid-19 vaccine was cleared for distribution after U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky formally recommended that adults 18 and older should receive it. The company said in a statement it planned to ship 100 million doses in the first half of the year. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, pushed back against any tendency to shop around or wait for a preferred vaccine of the three now approved in the U.S. Microsoft Corp. vowed to fix widespread problems with its vaccine scheduling software.
For the second consecutive season, the Green Bay Packers were sent home just one game short of reaching the Super Bowl. Once again, GM Brian Gutekunst, head coach Matt LaFleur and the rest of the Packers brass are looking into the abyss of an offseason where they'll need to go back to the drawing board to formulate a plan that can help the club get over the hump in 2021.
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 25: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on from the sideline during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Gillette Stadium on October 25, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Biden administration rushes to accommodate border surge, with few signs of plans to contain it
The White House is treating the fast-growing influx mostly as a logistical challenge.The administration has quickly turned detention centers into rapid-processing hubs for families with young children, relaxed shelter capacity rules aimed at lessening the spread of the coronavirus, deployed hundreds of backup border agents to the busiest crossings and tried to mobilize the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help with coronavirus testing and quarantining those who test positive. With bed space filling quickly, officials have drafted plans to put families in hotels in Texas and Arizona.
First and foremost, the club will need to address a number of key free agents set to hit the open market while also clearing the necessary cap space to get under the diminished salary cap for this coming season. That's a balancing act that could prove to be quite the challenge. After that, they'll put their eyes toward the NFL Draft where they'll be picking No. 29 overall in the first round.
As we wait for all that to unfold, you can check in on the latest happenings in Green Bay in our offseason hub. Here you'll find every piece of information you'll need to stay caught up with the club's comings and goings including the latest rumors and news along with some dates that you'll want to circle on your calendar.
Crafted By The Best NFL Experts
Get the day's big stories + fun stuff you love like mock drafts, picks and power rankings.
I agree that CBS Sports can send me the "Pick Six" newsletter.
Fermenting skills, exodus debunked, nurse strike: News from around our 50 states
How the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting every stateStart the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.
See All Newsletters
Please check the opt-in box to acknowledge that you would like to subscribe.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Key upcoming dates
March 9: Deadline for clubs to place the franchise or transition tag on players
March 15-17: Legal tampering period opens. Clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with, agents of players who will become unrestricted free agents at the start of the new league year.
March 17: The 2021 league year and free agency period begin at 4 p.m. ET. All 2020 contracts expire after this time and eligible players are free to officially sign deals with other clubs. Prior to this deadline, teams must exercise options for 2021 on all players who have option clauses in their 2020 contracts, must submit qualifying offers to their restricted free agents with expiring contracts to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation, and must submit a minimum-salary tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2020 contracts who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit.
April 5: Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2020 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.
April 19: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.
April: 23: Deadline for restricted free agents to sign.
April 28: Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets.
April 29 - May 1: 2021 NFL Draft (Cleveland)
*All dates and times are tentative and subject to change.
NFL free agency 2021: Ranking the top 50 free agents, best players by position
Sporting News' NFL free agency hub features a complete list of the top overall unrestricted free agents in 2021, plus the best players ranked by position and updates on the latest deals.There are several splashy targets at wide receiver and plenty of depth for defense, especially at edge rusher and safety. Quarterbacks have one big headliner for now and not much else.
2021 regular-season opponents
Los Angeles Rams
Washington Football Team
New Orleans Saints
San Francisco 49ers
*The actual 2021 schedule will be released later this offseason.
2021 NFL Draft picks
First round (29th overall)
Second round (62nd overall)
*More picks will be added once the 2021 compensatory selections are handed out.
Video: Speed Round: Will OBJ stay with Browns in 2021? (NBC Sports)
Pending in-house free agents
Restricted free agents:
QB Tim Boyle
S Raven Greene
DL Tyler Lancaster
CB Parry Nickerson
CB Chandon Sullivan
TE Robert Tonyan
CB Kabion Ento (ERFA)
WR Allen Lazard (ERFA)
OT Yosh Nijman (ERFA)
OLB Randy Ramsey (ERFA)
WR Malik Taylor (ERFA)
The two most recognizable names on this restricted free agent list are tight end Robert Tonyan and receiver Allen Lazard. Both will likely receive some sort of tender if they can't come to terms on a contract prior to the start of free agency. Tonyan proved to be a tremendous weapon for Aaron Rodgers in the passing game in 2020. The tight end was second on the team in receiving touchdowns (11) and receptions (52) and was Green Bay's third-leading receiver with 586 yards. As for Lazard, he was limited to 10 games in 2020 but will still effective in those games, hauling in 33 passes for 451 yards. He's an exclusive rights free agent making it even more likely the Packers will retain him.
EU Nations Halt Astra Shot; China’s Vaccine Doubts: Virus Update
Some of Europe’s biggest countries including Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal and France are suspending the use of AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine amid a health scare related to reports of blood clotting. The moves have thrown into disarray the European Union’s inoculation campaign. Cyprus also paused inoculations with the AstraZeneca vaccine. Venezuela said it won’t allow the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Two U.S. consular staff in Hong Kong were infected. The World Health Organization anticipates better vaccines will be available as early as this year.
Unrestricted free agents:
DL Montravius Adams
WR Tavon Austin
ILB James Burgess
RB Tyler Ervin
DL Damon Harrison
RB Aaron Jones
CB Kevin King
TE Marcedes Lewis
C Corey Linsley
S Will Redmond
G Lane Taylor
OT Jared Veldheer
RB Jamaal Williams
DL Billy Winn
The Packers backfield could look a lot different in 2021 with Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams hitting unrestricted free agency. It's not out of the realm of possibility that Green Bay places the franchise tag on Jones, but that is a situation worth monitoring. Williams has also stated his desire to stay with the Packers, but he'll likely have a healthy market that could offer him more of an expanded role. If the Packers lose both players, that would mean second-year back A.J. Dillon is primed to take the bulk of the carries.
Corey Linsley is another big free agent for the Packers. The veteran center is coming off a 2020 season where he was named First-Team All-Pro. That performance likely is leading him to a heavy payday and the potential end to his days with the Packers, which is something he's even acknowledged. If the two sides cannot come to terms on an extension, he could quickly jump out of Green Bay's price range once he hits the open market.
Free agent scorecard
Free agents the Packers retained:
Free agents the Packers signed from another team:
AL West X-factors: Springer-less Astros frontrunners? Angels, Athletics could use pitching boost
Here's each AL West team's biggest X-factor in 2021For three seasons, the AL West belonged to the Houston Astros. That doesn't appear to be the case anymore. In 2020, albeit a 60-game shortened season, the Oakland Athleticswalked away with the division crown, their first since 2013. The Los Angeles Angels should be doing far better than what their last few division finishes reflect and based on their lineup, which now includes Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon. The last time L.A. took home the division title was back in 2014, which was the last time they made the playoffs.
Free agents the Packers lost to another team:
Players the Packers signed who were cut by another team:
*It's important to differentiate between the players signed as unrestricted free agents and those signed after being cut by another team. This is true because players who are signed after being released by another team do not count in the compensatory draft-pick formula for the team that signs them.
Rumors, reports, updates
March 2: GM Brian Gutekunst has essentially admitted that it will be extremely difficult for the Packers to retain All-Pro center Corey Linsley, who is set to hit unrestricted free agency this offseason.
"There's a lot of pieces to this puzzle we're trying to put together," Gutekunst said. "Finding a way to bring him back would be ideal, but at the level of compensation he's at, he's earned that."
March 2: With the franchise-tag deadline looming, the clock is ticking for the Packers on whether or not they'll be placing it on running back Aaron Jones. While speaking to reporters via videoconference, Gutekunst said that the team "certainly could" tag Jones and it's "something we're working through."
"I do think there's usually better ways to go about it, but if that becomes what is in the best interest of the Packers, I think we'll do that," he said.
The franchise-tag deadline is March 9.
Giants news 3/18: Kenny Golladay, Dalvin Tomlinson, Azeez Ojulari, more headlines .
New York Giants news for ThursdayThe 100 best available NFL free agents remaining in 2021 - PFF.